Woman Angry She’d Been Cut Out of Father’s Will Killed Him and His Girlfriend at N.J. Beach House

Sherry Lee Heffernan fatally stabbed and shot her father and his longtime girlfriend at his Surf City, N.J., waterfront home

Google Maps; Ocean County Prosecutor
Google Maps; Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Sherry Lee Heffernan

A Pennsylvania woman has been convicted of murder after she drove to her father’s New Jersey beach house in the dark of night and killed him and his longtime girlfriend because he cut her out of his will, say authorities.

On Friday, following a four-week trial, a jury found Sherry Heffernan, 57, of Landenberg, guilty of two counts of murder and weapons charges in connection with the deaths of her father, John Enders, 87, and his girlfriend, Francoise Pitoy, 75, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said in a release.

She was also convicted of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose for using a handgun and a knife in the commission of the murders, the prosecutor’s office said.

Heffernan faces life in prison when she's sentenced on May 10.

The grisly murders came to light on Oct. 3, 2021, when Pitoy’s relatives asked police to perform a welfare check at Enders’ waterfront home in Surf City on Long Beach Island because they’d been unable to reach her for several days, the prosecutor’s office said in 2021.

There, they found the bodies of Enders, of Surf City, and Pitoy, of Manchester. Both victims died from multiple stab wounds and had both been shot in the face, the prosecutor’s office said.

Enders had also suffered blunt force trauma, the prosecutor’s office said.

Inside the spacious six-bedroom home, investigators found bloody footprints and a bloody glove, according to an affidavit of probable cause from the prosecutor’s office, PennLive reports.

Detectives found surveillance footage showing someone going into and coming out of the house in the early morning hours of Sept. 29, 2021, when authorities say the murders took place, court records show, PennLive reports.

The footage also showed that person driving a large RV to the area, the court records show, which authorities learned belonged to Heffernan.

Interviews with neighbors and relatives revealed that Heffernan and her sister had recently been removed from her father’s will, according to an affidavit written by Surf City Police Detective Sgt. Victor Rice, NJ.com reports.

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Enders, who argued frequently with Heffernan and was estranged from her sister, also did not allow Heffernan, a realtor, list the beach home for sale, court records show, PennLive reports. The home was ultimately sold for 1.7 million in Jan. 2022, according to Zillow.

On October 4, 2021, Heffernan was taken into custody by the Pennsylvania State Police at her home in Landenberg.

She pleaded not guilty.

During the trial, her lawyers argued that prosecutors had no evidence that she was driving the RV that morning, the Asbury Park Press reports.

After the verdict was read, one of Pitoy's daughters, Valerie Lewis Evans, said she was pleased about the outcome. 

"Prayers do work,” she said, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Enders’ grandson, Andrew Vero, said, "It's pure relief, and we can move on now,” the Asbury Park Press reports.

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